The curve isn’t very sharp at all.
“But it’s blind,” says Winston-Salem author Jason Roach. “You can’t see anything coming at you no matter what direction you’re coming from.”
And that’s how the turn got dubbed Dead Man’s Curve.
The stretch of road in Statesville has been called that as far back as the ’60s when Roach’s mom was growing up, he says. Now, he’s used the nickname in the title of his new book, The House on Dead Man’s Curve.
Part autobiography, part fiction and part haunted-house tale, the book is Roach’s first foray into longform writing, a story that places a character very much like himself at the center of the action.
“It follows a team of paranormal investigators going on a paranormal investigation of a lifetime,” he explains.
The group stays at a haunted Airbnb; from there, the book delves into clanging kitchens, opening windows, shadowy figures and noisy apparitions. All of the experiences that befall the characters in the book have happened to him, Roach says.
The book is set in Statesville, where Roach grew up. In his twenties, he lived in a house on Dead Man’s Curve where he experienced a myriad of paranormal activity.
One time, he and his partner left the house for a few hours; when they returned at night, all of the windows had been opened. A few weeks later, the same thing happened again. When they asked the landlord, he told them he didn’t know anything about it.
On another occasion, Roach was sitting in his room reading a book when he saw someone come into his room.
“They didn’t say anything and I didn’t really acknowledge them,” Roach says. “They came into my room and stared at me.”
When he asked his partner why he came into his room, he said he didn’t know what he was talking about.
“I noticed that the clothes he was wearing was a white shirt and tan shorts,” Roach says. “And I distinctly remember that the person who walked into my room was wearing a purple shirt and jeans. The house is very small so he couldn’t have changed without me noticing.”
Other times, Roach says, they would hear clanging in the kitchen and screen doors opening and closing.
“Sometimes I wonder if things aren’t drawn to me specifically for them to be occurring everywhere I go,” he says. “It’s something that I’m working on trying to figure out.”
In 2020, motivated by his experiences, Roach joined the Association of Paranormal Study, led by Alex Matsuo and based in Virginia. Currently the organization has four members, two each in Virginia and North Carolina.
Since joining, Roach says he’s gone on 10 or so investigations.
His most vivid experience includes a visit to the USS North Carolina battleship that’s stationed in Wilmington. Roach says that while the team was in the sick bay of the ship, they saw a shadow figure cross the door. A short while later, the team caught the sound of sirens going off through their electronic voice phenomenon recorder, or EVP.
“The theory is that spirits can manipulate words in the system and get different words to come out of it,” Roach explains. “On this night, we started discussing the torpedo that hit the ship in WWII, and instead of words out of the system, we got an actual replay of sirens going off when the ship was hit.”
All of it, according to Roach, was documented on the crew’s camcorders.
His favorite experience took place at the Trivette Clinic in Hamptonville. According to Roach, it was a medical clinic in the 1930s turned into a supper club, a nursing home and then a private residence. It currently stands empty.
“It’s said to have over 80 spirits that come and go out of this place,” Roach says. “I’ve probably been there six or seven times and we’ve had activity that is paranormal every time.”
And that’s saying something because Roach says the team is actually made up of skeptical believers.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that not everything is always what it seems to be,” he says. “Not everything is paranormal. Ninety-five percent of the time, there are logical explanations for things and that’s why we try to go back to places multiple times to see if we can get things to happen again and again. Once you establish a pattern, then you may have something.”
Although his book just came out, Roach says he’s already working on a second one. And next year, he plans to start his own LGBTQ+-focused publishing company. In the meantime, he’ll continue to go on more investigations.
“I do it because I love it,” he says.
Learn more at authorjasonroach.com and by following Jason Roach on social media at @JasonRoachAuthor. Learn more about the Association of Paranormal Study at associationofparanormalstudy.com.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.